Thursday, March 22, 2012

Gordon May's back on the Bullet for his next trip

Gordon May's 1953 Bullet carried him overland to India in 2008.
BULLETIN: Author Gordon May is getting back on his Royal Enfield Bullet.

"My next overland journey, you will be pleased to hear, will be back on the 1953 500cc Bullet I rode to India," he wrote in an email to fans of his books on the brand.

"But more on that another time..."

The email was packed with other news of interest to Royal Enfield riders. May's Royal Enfield Books is introducing reprints of maintenance and repair books  from the 1920s and 1930s. Also on the website  are instruction books for War Department Models D, C and RE plus a workshop manual for civilian postwar Models G, J and J2. More manuals are coming soon, Gordon wrote.

His books on Royal Enfield history and his own history making 8,000-mile journey from the UK to India on a 1953 Royal Enfield Bullet established author Gordon May as the world's most famous living Royal Enfield traveler.

So it may seem strange that the big news in his recent email bulletin relates to a BSA Bantam he named "Peggy."

Gordon's most recent trek was a terrifically challenging ride from the UK to Egypt aboard this terrifically overloaded 1952 BSA Bantam. Following his live account of that ride repeatedly raised the question: just how bad do things have to get before Gordon May gives up? He never did.

Somewhere under there is a little two-stroke BSA Bantam.
Now his full account is out in hardcover or paperback. You can purchase Overland to Egypt  with your credit card.

"Publication of the manuscript was delayed for two reasons," Gordon wrote in the email.

"Firstly, I had grave concerns for the safety of people I met in Libya, particularly my wonderful guide, Essa. I didn’t want to publish a book that included them before the war was over and I had been able to reestablish contact. That finally happened late last year and I’m glad to report that Essa is safe."

If possible, the second reason for the delay is even more touching:

"The second delay was due to my ongoing search for Peggy Iris Thomas, the intrepid lady who, accompanied by her Airedale terrier, Matelot, rode a BSA Bantam 14,000 miles across Canada, the U.S.A. and Mexico between 1951 and 1952. Her story, printed in the books ‘A Ride In The Sun’ and ‘Gasoline Gypsy,’ was so inspiring that I named my Bantam after her.

"After almost three years of searching, I finally discovered what had happened to her... As a consequence, with the kind permission of her family and the help of her friends, I have been able to republish her book under a combined title of ‘A Ride In The Sun — Gasoline Gypsy.’"

Copies of that book can be ordered from Gordon's Ride in the Sun website.

Go to Gordon's Overland to India website to purchase his original travel book, the story of how he rode his museum-piece Bullet from Manchester, UK to Chennai, birthplace of modern day Bullets.

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